Check out our exclusive interview with Mustafa Elzein on the pilot premiere of ‘Almost Family’!
After discovering the controversy surrounding her father and his fertility research, an only child finds out that she has hundreds of half siblings. From the producer of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” and the writer from “About a Boy” and “Desperate Housewives”, “Almost Family” is the story of an unusual family formed through extreme odds. The show tackles issues on identity, human connection, and what defines a real family. Can the lies and secrets of one man affect the new relationship of these newly found siblings?
Best known for his roles in “Sequestered”, “Lethal Weapon”, and “Semper Fi”, Mustafa Elzein now stars in the new series “Almost Family” as Dr. Isaac Abadi. We got a chance to speak with him about the premiere of the pilot episode of “Almost Family”!
The Knockturnal: What was your first impression when reading this script?
Mustafa Elzein: I loved it actually. When I was in college, I was actually studying chemical engineering, and I was thinking about doing pre-med and then I got into law school, I started doing that. But then I read the script and at first I was thinking about doing the Tim role, and that was the law one but then I read this and it was the protege of Timothy Hutton and I was like ‘oh this is beautiful, now I get to decide another avenue and go into the medical field and get to live a whole other life.’
The Knockturnal: How did you make that transition from student to acting?
Mustafa Elzein: So I was enrolled in law school at Georgetown, came out to LA for vacation, the day before I was suppose to go back got signed randomly by an agent. I called home and I said I’m not coming back, and I called law school and said I’m not going.
The Knockturnal: And so you got your agent, and then what was your first major gig?
Mustafa Elzein: So, I started, I started doing modeling at first. And I did that for a couple years, started shooting commercials doing all that. I started acting in about 2014. I shot a series for Sony Crackle, called Sequestered. We did twelve episodes for that and then I just started moving on from there. I worked on “Love Is”, “Lethal Weapon”, “Shameless”, a few other things, and bunch of testings. And then this one came along and it was like the stars aligned for this one.
The Knockturnal: That’s such a huge change from your original trajectory, how did your family react?
Mustafa Elzein: Well my father’s actually Sudanese and my mother’s Hungarian so, you know, coming from that kind of family where you have- my father’s the oldest of eight. He came to the states when he was in college and they came over here to build a better life and make sure their kids don’t have to go through the same stuff. So it was interesting when I was doing chemical engineering and law school his eyes were bright, he was happy, he was loving. Then when I transitioned to modeling and acting he didn’t take it seriously until now. Now he’s on What’s App, he’s calling me and high fiving me! You know, they just want to make sure you end up a good human being and you don’t end up in the same situation that they were in. They have faith in me though and it’s cool now, so yeah!
The Knockturnal: That’s awesome and so how was working with the ensemble on this?
Mustafa Elzein: Oh my gosh, I mean, you’ve seen them. It’s a super diverse cast, which is great for this time. I’m working, I’m playing, Timothy Hutton’s protege. He’s my mentor in it.
The Knockturnal: How is working with Tim? Such a legendary actor.
Mustafa Elzein: I mean he’s a Oscar winner. It’s humbling showing up to set and knowing that you’re going to be playing his protege and trying to navigate that scene, but actors like him, they make it so easy for you to kind of jump in there and do your best work and then you’re like “oh, it’s great!” But everybody else I mean Mo, Emily, Megalyn, Brittany, all of them were just great!
The Knockturnal: How was your time working on this project in New York?
Mustafa Elzein: This is my first time working in New York. I’m gonna be moving out here next week. So I’m from Maryland and I used to come out here all the time. Chinatown bus, mega bus visiting and it’s a lot different. The buildings felt like they were closing in on me before when I was younger. There was a lot more stress involved and I couldn’t have a car. But coming back out here now it’s crazy, I’ve got so much more of an appreciation for it. Not having to deal with like the hustle and bustle, but still having the hustle and bustle of it. And every block is something different. I get the seasons again now which is going to come back to bite me in the butt.
The Knockturnal: Any other projects you’d like to share?
Mustafa Elzein: Not right now, right now I’m all into this one. I’m pretty sure you already know this but we come out uh October 2nd, 9 PM, can’t wait to start filming it. We start filming in 2 weeks. It’s going to be crazy and yeah, this is what I’m working on right now!
Check out the trailer for “Almost Family” below!